A new mosaic of St David, Patron Saint of Wales, by artist Ifor Davies, has been completed at Westminster Cathedral. The mosaic will be blessed by Pope Benedict XVI when he celebrates Mass at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 18 September.
Welsh artist, Ifor Davies said: "I have been painting all my life and this is one of the most exciting commissions and very close to my heart. I have always been interested in Welsh history and so have done lots of research around St David and the early church in Wales."
"To start with I made a drawing, about the same size of as the mosaic on very thick paper and painted the image. Together with Tessa Hunkin from the Mosaic Workshop we traced the original image in order to be able to put it into a mosaic format."
"St David is depicted as standing on a mound, the myth states that he was preaching to a crowd and, in order for them to be able to hear him, better the ground rose underneath him. The bit of stone at the bottom of the mosaic is from Llanddewi Bref the spot where the miracle is said to have happened. There are also lots of other references to stories associated with St David, the water coming from his cup represents the fact that he drank only water for example."
The mosaic has been an important part of the Cathedral's preparations for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. Cathedral Administrator, Canon Christopher Tuckwell said: "I am delighted with the mosaic. When I first saw the drawing I could see that there was something new, fresh and alive about it. We are looking forward to the Holy Father coming here to bless the mosaic. It is a great part of his outreach to the people of Wales."
Tessa Hunkin from the Mosaic Workshop who put the mosaic together said: "It has been a great piece to work on, but a bit more difficult than other mosaics because there is so much gold and you have to use a slightly different technique when working with gold to ensure that it shimmers."
At the end of the Mass on 18 September, the Pope will bless the mosaic with water from St Nonn's well in Wales. St Nonn was the mother of St David. He will then address the people of Wales before concluding the Mass in Westminster Cathedral.
Headline page picture shows Archbishop Nichols with Ifor Davies.
For more information on Llanddewi Brefi see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llanddewi_Brefi
Source: Archbishops House